Growing up, my father played a huge role in introducing me to music and shaping my preferences. His favourite singers and bands spanned various genres and forms of media such as vinyl records, tapes and CDs. My earliest memory of this influence was listening to a song with him called ‘Lola’ by The Kinks, which details the singer’s drunken account of flirting with a beautiful woman at the bar, only to realize that ‘she’ is actually a ‘he’. To this day, popular albums in my father’s collection include bands such as Level 42 (Level Best), the Eagles (Hotel California), Kool and the Gang (Collection) and Simon and Garfunkel (The Concert in Central Park), which were soundtracks to my childhood.
As a teenager, music was not as freely accessible as it is now. New singles were neither released on platforms such as Spotify, YouTube or iTunes nor available to listen to on repeat. I often recorded my favourite songs, played by the local radio station, on my cassette/CD player using cassette tapes, a species that was once on the brink of extinction, but like most things from the past, seemed to make a fashionable revival in the past few years.
The first CDs I owned were gifts from my parents, one of which being Now 28, which seems prehistoric compared to what must be the 100th edition currently. The first CD I bought, with my hard earned pocket money, was ‘Oops I Did It Again’ by Britney Spears. Thereafter the collection just kept growing, as did the genres of music I found engaging. As the world leaned more towards the digital age, the appeal of the compact disc still lingered, despite the introduction of downloadable MP3 tracks which would later pave the way for the various platforms that followed.
Hearing the recent announcement regarding the closure of all Musica branches felt like a loss in so many ways. The sensory overload of walking into a CD shop brings back the most nostalgic memories of a simpler time in life. Visiting the store was a staple whenever I was at the mall and some of the most life-defining CDs were bought there: Infinity on High (Fallout Boy), Live in Texas (Linkin Park) and Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (My Chemical Romance).
It brought so much joy discovering the latest CDs, DVDs and games, sometimes on a weekly basis at the store or occasionally through the catalogues in the weekend newspaper. Hearing about the upcoming release of an album and awaiting its arrival at the store was only as exciting as having a physical copy of the original CD to take home, with its cover art and booklet of lyrics in all its glory. It was a slow progression yet somehow more gratifying than an instant download or music stream. In recent years, despite the move towards digital platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, it was impossible not to engage in a ritualistic visit to the store to browse through the classic CDs or Funko Pops, which speaks to the legacy that some brands create.
The effects of COVID-19 have been far reaching and apart from the devastation and loss, has created such a barrier between people. The contactless nature of life can be seen from hands-free soap dispensers to the manner in which we shop, and even communicate through media such as Zoom and Teams. With the analogue world drowning and us resorting, now more than ever, to digital means of acquiring everything we need, it sadly makes sense why Musica could no longer keep afloat.